Correcting my not-so-good rating system

I have a system for rating my images in Lightroom. I don’t remember how i came up with it, but i realized a few days ago that it makes no sense. Here’s what i’ve been using:

  • 3 – keep
  • 4 – good. Process and use
  • 5 – great. Process, use and treat as “portfolio”

My Lightroom rating system

Not that it’s been causing me any trouble, but this clearly isn’t the best use of a five star system, is it? I never use one or two star ratings. I used to mark all my rejects with one star, but there’s a reject flag for that and the fact that i haven’t deleted an image makes it a “keep”, so my current three star makes no sense either.

I decided to think about this for a few days and make some research to make sure i came up with a rating system that fits me and that i can make good use of from now on. Now i’m finished thinking. “It ain’t rocket surgery”, as David Lee Roth said. Re-rating all my images in Lightroom was very simple, but it needed to be done in the right order of course. I had some criteria for what i wanted my new rating system to do:

  • I want all my images to have a rating
  • I want to be able to find all images that i have at some point considered good enough to spend some work on. My catalog has a number of images that i’ve forgotten. Being able to find these with a smart filter is valuable.
  • I want to be able to quickly sort out my best images and my super images (i’m not sure i have one yet), sort of like “portfolio quality”

Also, slightly aside from this by still related, i want to be able to temporarily highlight photos to say “hey – something need to be done to this one”. I will use the red label for this. By pressign the 6 key, an image can be quickly marked red, and those marked will always be available using a smart filter on all images labeled red.

This is my new star rating standard:

  1. Not neccessarly an image to work on, but still to be kept. Might be for reference or documentation of some event or images that have not been selected among other similar ones, for instance in a sequence if images taken in continuous mode.
  2. Process and publish. To be included in slideshows of sports events, birthday parties etc.
  3. “Heroes”. Process and publish on my web sites, Flickr, 500px, Instagram etc.
  4. Portfolio. My best shots.
  5. The top of the portfolio shots.

Now all that needs to be done is to think up some great ideas to create stuff for the 5 star category.

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